Possession of Prescription Drugs in New Jersey
Unfortunately, it is all too common for innocent patients to receive prescriptions for painkillers or other medications after surgeries or medical procedures only to become addicted during the recovery process. Due to the high potential for addiction and abuse of prescription medication, New Jersey lawmakers heavily regulate the prescribing and dispensation protocol related to these drugs.
In New Jersey, any individual found in illegal possession of prescription medication, also known as controlled dangerous substances (CDS), without a valid prescription can be charged with a criminal offense. Further, a medical professional or another individual who dispenses prescription medication outside of the confines regulated by law may also be exposed to felony drug crime charges and severe penalties.
Some of the most commonly abused prescription medications which may result in criminal charges for those who possess or distribute them illegally include Morphine, Xanax, Vicodin, OxyContin (Oxycodone), Codeine, Percocet, Fentanyl, Methadone, Adderall, Valium, Ritalin, and Suboxone.
Many times, the difficulty in obtaining these substances can lead to other criminal behavior such as prescription drug fraud, forgery, distribution of prescription drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and even theft. Sadly, in other cases, an addiction to prescription medication such as an opioid like Oxycodone can lead to substance abuse and dependence on a “street drug” such as heroin, which can also result in criminal charges.
Allegations of a prescription drug offense can be crushing for you and your family. However, you do not have to face them alone. The criminal defense attorneys at Breslow Law Offices have witnessed countless cases involving those charged with possession of prescription drugs and have helped thousands of individuals avoid a prison sentence and/or charges on their criminal records.
They are profoundly committed to helping you understand New Jersey’s drug laws and working with you in order to determine and achieve the most desirable outcome. Contact their office at 973-239-8000 today for a free initial consultation and defense strategy.
Prescription Drug Charges under New Jersey Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5
According to New Jersey drug law, “prescription legend drug” refers to “any substance which under Federal or State law requires dispensing by prescription or order of a licensed physician, veterinarian or dentist.” Violations involving these substances are outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5, which dictates the following (based on the amount of drugs/pills):
- Disorderly Persons Offense: Possession of a prescription drug in a quantity of 4 or fewer units or pills.
- Fourth Degree Crime: Possession, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute a prescription drug in a quantity of 4 or fewer units or pills.
- Third Degree Crime: Possession, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute a prescription drug in a quantity ranging from 5 to 99 units or pills.
- Second Degree Crime: Possession, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute a prescription drug in a quantity of 100 or more units or pills.
Possession of Prescription Drugs Penalties & Jail Time
In terms of the grading of prescription medication drug cases, the seriousness of the charge is contingent upon the amount, specifically, the number of pills or units associated with the alleged drug offense. The penalties for prescription drug charges in any degree can be severe, as illustrated below:
- Second Degree Charge: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, as well as a maximum fine of $300,000
- Third Degree Charge: punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison, as well as a maximum fine of $200,000
- Fourth Degree Charge: punishable by a maximum term of incarceration of 18 months in New Jersey State Prison
- Disorderly Persons Charge: punishable by a maximum term of 6 months to be served in the county jail, as well as a fine of up to $1,000
Speak with a New Jersey Perscription Drug Charges Defense Lawyer Today
It is important to note that there are a number of viable alternatives to a conviction for those charged with a first-time prescription medication offense, including conditional discharge, the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, and Drug Court.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer at Breslow Law Firm can help you understand the best defense strategy and pursue all of your available options to achieve the best possible outcome for your prescription drug charges.